Many city of Chicago employees suffer mental and physical injuries due to workplace violence and unsafe working injuries. This video will explain to people the many pitfalls of working in a dangerous environment. We explore the victims of hateful emails sent by employees of the City of Chicago and the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. Chairman Joann M. Fratianni has been asked to step in and stop insurance companies and the Chicago Committee on Finance, from stopping benefits when the consequences are so life threatening. Many factors play into forcing victims of workers compensation to have serious health issues and mental breakdowns, due to the criminal activities of lawyers sworn to protect the law. Many folks have mental issues and you need professional care. When you do hire a Licensed Professional that cares.
Disclaimer: This guest is not my doctor. I am grateful for her care towards other human being.
When you need a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, call Doctor Kathleen A. Krupica, Psy.D 4001 West Devon Ave Suite 206 Chicago Illinois 60646. She is also a witness “expert” in Workers Compensation cases. Get the care you need.
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from public inspection certain information collected by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission from self-insureds and papers, documents, reports, or evidence relevant to a workers’ compensation fraud investigation conducted by the Department of Insurance. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 regarding workers’ compensation fraud penalties. Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act. Makes changes concerning: when an accidental injury shall not be considered to be “arising out of and in the course of employment” if the accidental injury or medical condition occurred while the claimant was traveling away from the employer’s premises; the maximum compensation rate for a period of temporary total incapacity; compensation awards for injuries to the shoulder and hip; the maximum allowable payment for certain service categories; the assignment and reassignment of arbitrators to hearing sites; the creation of an evidence based drug formulary; annual reports on the state of self-insurance for workers’ compensation in Illinois; and other matters. Effective immediately.
Editorial: Pull back curtain on Ald. Burke’s workers comp fiefdom
EDITORIALS 02/28/2016, 02:07pm
Ald. Ed Burke at the Chicago City Council meeting. Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Brian Jackson/ for the Sun-Times
For more than a century in Chicago, a mere City Council committee — now tightly controlled by a single powerful alderman — has called the shots on all worker compensation claims, in recent years shelling out what experts say is a “staggering” amount of money.
Feel free to scream about that the next time Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Council decide to jack up your property taxes. Demand that they take Ald. Ed Burke down a peg first and bring the Chicago Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation into the 21st century.
Across the country, big cities have placed the responsibility for overseeing millions of dollars in payments to municipal workers injured or killed on the job under the control of a city department.
The New York City Law Department handles the Big Apple’s worker compensation claims. In Los Angeles, the city Personnel Department administers them.
But in Chicago? Here, the Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation, bizarrely, is under the purview of the City Council Committee on Finance. Under the city’s municipal code, it’s been that way since at least 1913.
That means the city’s $100 million-a-year workers’ comp fiefdom is headed by Burke, alderman of the 14th Ward and longtime Finance Committee chairman.
The municipal code also gives Burke alone the power to hire workmen’s comp employees. Audits of the bureau’s claim decisions are not required.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson has no auditing oversight, thanks to a recent City Council “IG-Light” compromise that walled off workmen’s comp and other programs controlled by aldermen from IG audits.
Eugene Keefe of the Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates workers’ compensation defense law firm once called the city’s $115 million payout in 2011 workmen’s comp claims “staggering.”
“No municipality in the United States pays that much or anything close to that much for workers’ compensation benefits,” Keefe wrote back in 2012. “Finance Chairman Ed Burke has been running that money-hemorrhaging program with an iron fist and as secretly as it can be run for decades.”
We’ve seen little evidence that much has changed since – except that the city’s finances have worsened to crisis levels.
At a time when Chicago faces budget woes up the wazoo, the organizational structure of the Bureau of Workmen’s Compensation is a blazing example of bad government. It is rife with the potential for cronyism, waste and inefficiency just when Chicago has no pennies to spare.
Two aldermen are trying to bring this more than 100-year-old anomaly into the modern era.
A resolution by Aldermen John Arena (45th) and Scott Waguespack (32nd) calls for hearings into the city’s workmen’s comp practices by the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Government Operations.
The aldermanic pair want to hear exactly what procedures the Finance Committee uses to investigate and process claims and to check for fraud. They want to explore if it makes sense to move all these functions into the city’s executive branch — and if so, where.
They have suggested the city Law Department as one destination, although that city bastion could be busy at the moment battling nagging questions about police shootings.
Finance Committee officials insist workmen’s comp auditing is done. For at least the last two years, Aon Risk Solutions has conducted a “Workers’ Compensation Reserve Analysis and Forecast.” Those numbers are eventually plugged into the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
The problem is, Waguespack said, the number crunchers “are given dollar amounts and they add them up and see if 2 plus 2 is 4. But they don’t look at how you got 2 plus 2.”
Pulling back the curtain on the operations of the city’s workmen’s comp program with a public hearing would be a welcomed move.
And graduating from such a hearing to a successful City Council ordinance that would amend the Municipal Code and put workmen’s comp in the executive branch would be even better. Doing so would make workmen’s comp subject to IG audits that aldermen recently prohibited with their gutted IG ordinance.
But this is Chicago.
Chances are, the Arena-Waguespack resolution will never make it to a hearing. The parliamentary maneuvering has already begun, aldermen say, with moves afoot to transfer the resolution to Burke’s Finance Committee. Or, it could sit forever in the Rules Committee, never to see the light of day.
And Chicago could remain stuck in the 1900s when it comes to workmen’s comp — but with 21st-century-sized workmen’s comp bills.
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Barrett Murphy gave Paul Hansen the North District Superintendent promotion over much more qualified licensed employees. Paul Hansen had a rigged promotion if there ever was one. The City of Chicago Law Department covered up for this this when complaints were made. Ole Barrett is kicking himself in the ass now!! Gee, Paul Hansen was a great pick, eh you unemployed ass wipe. Alderman Tunney also used his muscle to put Paul Hansen in as the top dog at the Department of Water Management. Luci Pope Cozzi Anderson went to visit Paul Hansen at his office and the curtains were closed. Luci was accused of deleting Paul emails and covering up for this clown for years. Now that bribes from contractors is in the FBI laps, more fun and game are in order. Barrett told the entire North District how Paul Hansen would be great for the Department on June 8, 2011. Every promotion since the Shakman release from Federal Oversight resulted in Blacks, whistleblowers, and those with no clout, has been a joke. Maybe Luci Pope and Jennifer Isban can get fired soon. All of Paul Hansen discipline writeup are now going to be reopened, and in Federal court the way things are going. Please see an excellent article in the Chicago Tribune. Remember, if you are black or a whistleblower, please call Patrick McDonough or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you got a bad injury settlement, please email email@example.com Attorneys are on standby. I also want to know why did the FOIA officer at the Department of Water Management hide email demands of Paul Hansen years ago? Fire all of them.
Hal Dardick, Ray Long and Todd LightyContact Reporters
Chicago Tribune Luci Pope Cozzi Anderson
City emails newly obtained by the Tribune cast light on the scope and offensiveness of racist, sexist and anti-gay slurs by politically connected supervisors at the top levels of the Chicago water department.
An image of a Ku Klux Klan “scarecrow” amid a watermelon field, a picture of a naked woman on a beach and off-color comments about gay people found their way into inboxes between early 2013 and April — a month before an investigation of the emails led to high-ranking officials losing their jobs at the Department of Water Management.
The emails, among nearly 1,300 provided by the city in response to a request under the Illinois open records law, include more overtly sexist and anti-black messages than those in an earlier, more limited batch obtained by the Tribune that also contained anti-Islamic insults. And the new emails for the first time reveal homophobic statements.
They also show that they were sent and received during a years-long period without any sign that supervisors, including recently ousted department Commissioner Barrett Murphy, did anything to quash the troubling chatter. And in at least one case, Murphy forwarded an offensive email to another department employee.
Many of the emails obtained by the Tribune go to the heart of an ongoing investigation by the city’s inspector general. The original sender of many of them is former district superintendent Paul Hansen, the son of a onetime alderman whose political connections go back to the administration of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. In one 2015 email not long after the elections for City Council and mayor, Hansen boasts of his ability to “swing elections.”
Lawsuit alleges racism at roiled Chicago water department
That was sent to Murphy, whose City Hall connections also date back to the Daley years but grew under Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor and Chicago first lady Amy Rule are friends with Murphy and his wife, Lynn Lockwood, the onetime chairman and treasurer of one of Emanuel’s political funds. Murphy also received many of the racist, sexist and homophobic emails.
For Emanuel, the scandal raises issues he’d rather put behind him as he starts to gear up to make a bid for a third term in office in the 2019 elections. And it comes with risks of political peril among key groups of voters that he has worked hard to cultivate: women, gays and African-Americans.
Emanuel has tried to restore his reputation in the city’s historically vote-rich African-American community, after the 2015 release of a police dash-cam video of a white police officer shooting black teen Laquan McDonald 16 times.
2 more Water Department supervisors put on leave in email investigation
The mayor also has toiled to put an end to clout at City Hall. But the political connections of the supervisors involved in the email controversy harken back to the era when Donald Tomczak controlled the water department that became a focus of a 2006 federal corruption trial. Emanuel first ran for Congress during the Tomczak era, and political troops loyal to Tomczak helped the mayor win his first elected office. And Murphy, Hansen and other members of the group show up on a clout list presented at the federal corruption trial held 11 years ago.
Emanuel has taken steps to address the email controversy, starting in May when he appointed Randy Conner, an African American, to lead the department after the resignations of Murphy, Hansen and deputy commissioner William Bresnahan. Attempts to reach all three for comment were unsuccessful.
At the time of their resignations, mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said the mayor acted “quickly and decisively” by asking for Murphy’s resignation after learning of what was then an 8-month-old probe into the emails by city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson. That investigation started as a review of emails about gun deals tied to Hansen that ultimately led to the discovery of the offensive emails.
In early June, after those initial resignations, the Tribune obtained emails sent by Hansen that included racially insensitive, anti-Islamic and sexist messages, and the department’s newest commissioner announced that all managers and supervisors in his department would be provided with additional training on federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace
In late June, Thomas J. Durkin, the general foreman of plumbers, and John “Jack” Lee Jr., a district superintendent, were placed on administrative leave pending disciplinary decisions. They have since resigned, according to a department spokesman. Attempts to reach Durkin and Lee for comment were unsuccessful.
A week after they were placed on leave, a federal lawsuit was filed alleging that African-American employees of the Chicago water department routinely were denied promotions, subjected to racial slurs and sexually harassed because of their race.
In response to questions about the latest emails obtained by the Tribune, Emanuel spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier said the mayor “acted swiftly” to show his intolerance for the behavior and that “the folks implicated have been removed.” She said he backs efforts by the new commissioner to step up equal employment training for department managers and supervisors. “Finally, the move to take immediate action is completely consistent with the mayor’s efforts to eliminate clout at City Hall so that city employees are hired based on what they know, not who they know,” Breymaier added.
One jarring example of a racist email was forwarded from Hansen to Murphy in July 2014. It was titled “Watermelon Protection” and included an image that depicted a scarecrow, dressed in a white KKK robe and pointed hood, amid a field of watermelons. “I don’t understand,” Hansen stated in his message to Murphy.
Another racially insensitive email dates back to February 2013, when Hansen was replying to an email that Murphy first forwarded to him. The original message concerned an “urgent request” from ComEd to stop work near an alternate power line serving schools, a fire station and senior citizen homes until the main line was fixed so those facilities wouldn’t lose their electricity feed if it were accidentally damaged.
In response, Hansen wrote: “I think the only thing that the line does not feed is the center for the severely challenged negro midgets, you know the place, its where we hired all those laborers from 7 years ago.” Murphy then forwarded that message to another department employee.
Even an August 2015 note from Murphy describing an equation for calculating the circumference of a circle drew a convoluted, racially charged attempt at humor from Hansen.
Hansen’s message referred to the sex organs of white and black men, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby, a Confederate flag, and Dorothy and the Tin Man. Within minutes, Hansen then forwarded the same distasteful message to Durkin, whose response included: “I’ll have to get back to you with my answer after I discuss this with the All Powerful OZ.”
Hansen also distributed emails with an anti-gay tenor, including a February 2013 reply to Murphy, who in oversized letters noted that the Gay Pride festival and parade would be split over two weekends. It also was sent to Bresnahan.
One minute later, Hansen replied it meant someone might be absent from work and would need an “inflatable doughnut on the chair” when he returned.
Hansen in October 2015 sent Murphy a link to a YouTube video titled “Redneck Homemade Bikini Contest.” The video depicts several scantily clad women on a wooden stage with a male emcee kicking of the contest by saying, “Here she is guys … let’s hear it.”
Hansen in March 2014 forwarded to Durkin, Lee and Bresnahan a joke that spares few in its offensiveness. It refers to a “world’s shortest essay contest” held for Texas teens that had to include elements of religion, royalty, racism, disability and homosexuality. The “winning” essay read: “My God,” cried the Queen, “That one-legged nigger is a queer.” Lee later responded, “I’m crying.”
The emails obtained by the Tribune show that as recently as April, Hansen was receiving offensive emails. An April message sent to Hansen referred to “HETEROSEXUAL MALE PRIDE DAY!”
It makes that declaration after showing photographs of steaks grilling, beer taps and a naked woman, and is preceded by this introduction: “To all of my friends who are tired of taking a BACK SEAT to gays, lesbians, homosexuals, trans genders, women soldiers, bra burners, female boy scouts, women libbers, tree huggers, and eco-commie-environ-freaks, the looney left, Greens, social justice warriors and worse of all — those f——- Democrats!”
One email was sent by a deputy human resources commissioner in October 2014 to several water department supervisors, including Murphy, who was first deputy commissioner at the time. It suggested they should take part in “respectful workplace” training on the issues of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
“Although (the Department of Human Resources) has not made this training mandatory,” it states, “there are several reasons that each supervisory employee should receive this training.”
The emails also show that Murphy often forwarded to his wife various news summaries, including one in August 2015 where Emanuel announced city worker health care benefits will cover gender reassignment services. “What the……,” Murphy commented.
Murphy’s connections to City Hall predate the current mayor. He worked for Daley in multiple capacities, including in the mayor’s office, and first started at the water department in 2004, when Tomczak reigned.
During the 2006 trial of Robert Sorich, Daley’s patronage chief, a once-secret clout list with names of politically connected people seeking jobs and their sponsors was entered into evidence. Murphy’s name appears on the list as the sponsor for one person seeking a job.
Murphy gained influence under Emanuel, who promoted him to first deputy commissioner in 2011 during the early months of his administration. In April 2016, Emanuel appointed him commissioner of the department — a position that proved relatively short lived because of the email scandal that surfaced in May.
Hansen, son of former longtime Ald. Bernie Hansen, 44th, also appears on the clout list as someone who sought a promotion.
During the trial of Sorich, prosecutors charged that Daley administration officials handed out jobs, promotions and overtime work to those who campaigned for Daley and his allies. Sorich was convicted for his role in a hiring fraud scheme to rig interviews and falsify documents.
Hansen, in one water department email sent to Murphy in March 2015, boasted of his political prowess in the context of a recently concluded City Council race on the Northwest Side. “I told you I could swing elections,” Hansen wrote.
Other water department email senders and recipients who showed up on the clout list include Durkin. The sponsor listed for Durkin was Tomczak, who was sent to prison after pleading guilty in 2005 to commanding a political army of patronage workers and taking almost $400,000 in payoffs from companies that wanted business from the city’s corrupt Hired Truck Program.